Reflections: May 25, 2021
By Jeffrey Horn
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"When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (John 10:4,5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today we continue our celebration of Pentecost as we hear that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Here is another reading for Pentecost that doesn't mention the Holy Spirit by Name, but still teaches us so much about His work.
In this text, Jesus teaches us that He is our Good Shepherd. He is risen from the dead and lives to guide His little flock, the Church, to heaven. He does this with His voice. Jesus speaks love and forgiveness to us in the Word of God as we read the Bible and hear the Gospel preached in Church. Jesus speaks love and forgiveness to us in Baptism and in the Supper--the Sacraments He established for us. We hear the voice of Christ in the catechism, as we are taught good doctrine from the Bible, so that we know how to avoid the voices of strangers (false teachers).
Jesus gives these gifts. At each step the Holy Spirit is the One who brings these gifts to you and causes you to believe in Jesus, so you receive His gifts by faith. Without the Holy Spirit, you would never have heard of Jesus, nor could you have believed in Him. You would have been lost forever.
But thanks be to God that the Spirit loves you and does His work! The Spirit brings the voice of Jesus to you through the Word and the Sacrament. The Spirit causes you to believe that when Jesus promises you forgiveness, it is truly yours. When you face times of trial and temptation, fear and doubt, the Spirit brings the peace and comfort of the Gospel to you and keeps you in Christ.
When you hear the voice of Christ say in the Scripture that you are His little lamb and you are safe with Him, it's the Spirit who causes you to trust that Jesus speaks the truth. The Spirit causes you to trust this Word of Christ so thoroughly that you base the safety of your whole life in this world and the next on Christ your Shepherd. The Spirit does this work with great strength, with tender gentleness, with patience and wisdom. He gives you the treasures that Christ won for you on the Cross and at the resurrection.
We thank the Holy Spirit for His gracious work, and praise Him with the Father and the Son, now and forever! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever. ("The King of Love My Shepherd Is" LSB 709, st.1)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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